Monday, August 15, 2011

Oh wait, what?

Hi, remember me? Is there anyone out there? Have you given up on me? It's only been 11 months, that's not too long to go between posts is it? I could just start a new blog but what fun would that be?

The TV is on. The State Farm falcon commercial on. I met the guy who bought the falcon in the commercial when I was in LA. I assumed that he was losing his hair because he was wearing a fedora. Then I realized that guys in LA just like wearing hats, like a lot. I don't get it. When I see a guy in a hat in NYC I automatically assume he is balding and about 90% of the time I'm correct.

Yeah, LA, that's something that happened. I flew out there to meet up with Cult of Youth on the second leg of their US tour. They were out with Danish teen sensations and dance party enthusiasts and aka the somehow over-hyped yet under-appreciated Iceage. I got back two weeks ago.

Omar's all grown up and is currently chasing a fly. Heaven Street and Fox & Fawn a thriving. It's now just Sean and myself in our apartment over the Greenpoint oil spill. I was diagnosed with endometriosis and as a result I had to stop eating wheat and dairy. I stopped writing for Vice and am just about to start again (and by just about I mean I'm submitting my first piece in ages tomorrow.) My mother moved to California. I went to Mexico and climbed pyramids. Bad Girls Club Season 7 started. Sean told me it's a bad idea to get a third cat. I baked a loaf of bread for the first time yesterday.

Oh and Pam and I started a band.

That's me, that's my life, spastically, sporadically domesticated.

And so I leave you with some pictures from the road with Cult of Youth and Iceage:

Jacob, Elias, and Dan backstage in Portland

Sean immediately after COY's set in Portland

Nu Sensae
Nu Sensae in Vancouver (new favorite)

White Lung
White Lung in Vancouver (so much love for this band)

Vancouver, but I coulda sworn for a minute we were in Montreal

Cult of Youth
Cult of Youth plays to the on-coming storm

Iceage in Vancouver

Post show tiki bar dance-party in Vancouver

Dancing 2
Danes dancing hard while Sean DJed

Dancing 3
Things got vaguely homoerotic, par for the course with Iceage

Dancing 4
Tour manager/everybody's favorite guy Logan got loose

King Dude 4
King Dude in Seattle!

Christiana in Seattle

Iceage in Seattle

I was booked to fly back early the next morning post-Seattle show. The boys/bands were so bummed to leave each other as it was the end of their joint leg of their respective tours. I was just along for the ride, but I was crushed when a plan developed to go to Aurora, WA aka the site of Twin Peaks filming later in the day. I tried to change my flight but it didn't make sense geographically and I had to miss out while the others went. Such is life, but I gotta say there were some Facebook uploads from Aurora that were totally crushing. Also crushing was the show's schedule didn't permit for the boys to get tattooed together. Elias was set to get a Cult of Youth tattoo and Sean was set to get an Iceage one. I contemplated a Cult of Youth one on my left hand, another crescent moon to match the one I have on my right palm. I guess there is always New York. I hear that someone in the Midwest gave Iceage a tattoo machine and they've been tattooing each other. So far every tattoo Elias has given has gotten infected.

And that's that. I'm sweating in my apartment writing about sweating on the West Coast. Omar is lying on his back with his legs sprawled. We've got an AC unit in here, but it's not turned out, it's more loud than effective. I'm watching Bad Girls Club while Sean packs up copies of the new Cult of Youth 7" to ship. I numbered and assembled almost all 500 of them.

I miss writing on this thing and hopefully this won't be a passing visit and I'll be back for good.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Now Out

So for the first time in the history of me, I had my writing published in print. I was privileged to be a contributor to the first issue of The Dirty Durty Diary. I have three stories in the first issue, an interview with Eric Foss of Lit, a group story on the artist collective Fortoul Presents, and a feature on All Saints' landing on US soil.

I'll also be writing a weekly column for their blog, more on that soon.

I can't tell you how jazzed I was to see this though, not gonna lie, I was stoked.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Good deeds gone bad gone back good again

I rescued my first animal today. I usually let strays be strays. Feral cat colonies are a fact of Brooklyn life but last night I met a little fella that made me unable to stand by and not do something.

It all started when I went to visit Sean at Vacation Island where he was recording an EP with Love as Laughter. We met at the Food Bazaar (Bushwick grocery/dreamland) and on the walk back to the studio he pointed out a community garden that he said was full of cats. At that moment a little tuxedo kitty came strutting out of the gate and walked right up to me and starting rubbing against my legs. I was all ready to go with it until I noticed what, in the darkness, looked like a big patch of mangey hairless skin on his tail. Fearing bringing some serious cat scabies back to the three who live at the house I pulled away from him, but he was intent on hanging out with me. Upon closer inspection I noticed that the lower half of his tail was withered and bent in a few places. This little guy had something wrong with him more than just some missing hair. I put a sad face on and sighed and walked into the studio with Sean.

I started talking about the friendly kitty with the fucked up tail and the other guys said they noticed him too. Matt, the proprietor of Vacation Island told me a story about befriending one of the strays who lived in the feral cat colony. He said a cat showed up with a bleeding head. He took it in and put a hot compress on it and named him Bill. Bill would come into the studio on the regular through a hole in some window somewhere. The one day Matt came to the studio and Bill was outside dead. He told me this story as a warning not to get too attached to any of the neighborhood strays because, well, they die.

Of course this had the opposite effect on me and it made me want to help the little kitty more. I texted a vet friend asking for advice on where I could take him. Sean and I left for a dinner break and as I walked by the kitty for the second time it ran up to me, rubbing against my legs, and I got a closer look at it's tail. There was an open sore, it looked like some of the skin was just plain missing.

I debated over dinner what to do. There was nothing I could do then and there, it was too big of a risk to take an untested street cat into our home who obviously was injured. I didn't want a flea outbreak or even worse, to expose our cats to the potential of Feline AIDS. To help him meant waking up early and going to Bushwick to try and track the kitty down and try and lure it into a carrier.

When we got home I looked up the websites and opening times of the places Dr. Jenn the vet had suggested. A final text from her offering to help in the morning if BARC couldn't take the kitty solidified my decision. I set my alarm for 9 am, got up and hopped on the B48 bus armed with a cat carrier, a bag of treats, and a can of wet food.

After about 20 minutes of poking around that block and the next without a kitty in sight I got discouraged, but at Sean's suggestion I put out the can of wet food trying to lure them out of hiding. I then took a little walk down the block to make myself scarce and lo and behold, when I returned three tiny kittens emerged from a trash pile. They must have been about 5 or 6 weeks old max. There were two little black ones and one grey one. The tiniest of the three, a black one, started gorging full force on the food swatting at any of his siblings that tried to get near. Occasionally he'd lift his head and survey the scene, his face and whiskers covered in food. Cute yes, but my injured friend, no. Eventually a fourth kitten appeared, this one a teeny tiny twin to my missing tuxedo.

It was almost 11 am and I had to be at the store a noon. At that point I knew I had to give up. All wasn't totally lost, I got to hang out with cute kittens at least. I called Sean to tell him I was done and while I was on the phone with him the injured tuxedo kitty finally emerged! It marched right up to me and as soon as I hung up the phone he crawled on my lap. It was at this point I saw the full damage that had been done to his tail. The bottom half was dead and dry, there was a place in the middle where the flesh underneath the skin was bright pink and visible. However the presence of this kitty mingling with 4 kittens threw me for a loop. Was this their young mother? Fuck! I couldn't very well separate them, could I? The wound looked severe enough where if I didn't do something death would separate them anyway. Thankfully I got ahold of my vet friend and she told me that as long as the kittens were eating wet food and had teeth that they could be separated. I lured the tuxedo very easily into the cat carrier with treats, but I couldn't take the sad stares of the tiny tuxedo twin kitten. The vet said it would be okay to try and round up the kittens too if I could fit any of them in the carrier, but as soon as the injured cat started trying to escape the teeny tiny kitten ran off scared.

I stood up, carrier in hand and prepared to bring the injured kitty to the shelter. I called ahead to make sure BARC could take the cat. The woman who answered the phone told me they were full. I figured since I'd already gotten the cat in the carrier that I should just bring it to the vet in the city and see what we could do shelter-wise from there. I had second thoughts though, everything was getting complicated and my workday was looming. Then, standing at the entrance to the Lorimer M train stop, I looked down into the cat carrier. The cat's tail had fallen off.

A little less than half of the cat's tail remained, and the final two inches of what remained was a bright pink bloody stump with a sickeningly white tip of bone at the end. The skin had slid off of it along with the dead remnants of the rest of the tail, now laying motionless and unattached in the carrier, a dead black thing, visibly hollow at the topmost portion.

Decision made, I climbed the stairs to the platform. While I was waiting I called Sean and told him what happened. My hands were shaking. When I got on the train a girl saw the carrier and her eyes lit up. "Ooh, kitty!" she excitedly cooed. "You don't want to look in there," I mumbled trying to shield the carrier's screen top from view. I think she caught a glimpse or maybe she was just weirded out. Either way she moved to the other end of the train.

From there the story pretty much mellows. I finally got to the vet and received some amazing help from Dr Jenn and the rest of the awesome staff at the Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital. They wrapped up his bloody stump. Yeah, that's right, it turned out not to be anyone's mother,just a friendly little male of about 8-10 months who kept the company of an adorable tribe of kittens. His tail injury was termed a "degloving" injury where the skin get separated from the flesh. Apparently this type of injury is not uncommon in strays thanks to their unfortunately habit of hiding in the underbelly of parked cars only to be seriously injured when the owner starts the vehicle. That is what most likely happened to little guy. The vets gave him some shots and after several refusals from many full animal shelters, they finally found a spot for him at Bideawee, a place where he could be surgically treated and sheltered for adoption all in one roof. I repacked him in his carrier and took him from Chelsea to 38th and 1st.

During the shelter intake they told me most of the scratches and scabs on him weren't from fleas but from fights with other cats. They said it looked like he got beat up pretty regularly by other cats in the colony. During intake they asked me if I wanted to name him so I dubbed him Wee-Bey, one of my favorite character names from The Wire, plus a nice play on the name of the only no-kill shelter that would open it's doors to him.

Then, in true asshole form, I didn't realize that they asked for a $40 donations for strays and having just checked my bank account and balance I couldn't afford to give (mama's got her own medical bills.) But I promise that I will write these good people a check as soon as my next pay period rolls around. I owe them.

His tail is going to be amputated on Monday and he'll probably be up on Petfinder by Tuesday, that is if my friends who are in the market for a tuxedo don't get him first. That's the story of little Wee-Bey's rescue, a good deed that turned scary but ended great.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Happy things

I was trying to take a picture of this rad tote my friend J. Penry made in conjunction with the awesome Wicker Man inspired art show The Ritual which was recently at the By and By gallery on Grand Street.


Unfortunately there was a little interference.


Apparently Omar doesn't like the idea of me taking pictures of any cat but him. And so, I'm pleased to introduce the newest member of the Hames/Ragon household, little Omar Little. Sound familiar? He's named after this guy:

Look it's everyone's favorite shotgun toting, drug dealer robbing, Baltimore bad ass and one of the greatest television characters of all time! No big deal. I was thinking about naming him Mouzone after my other favorite gunman from the show, but the Nation of Islam goes a little too deep for my taste.

Oh and also in the tote picture please allow me to point out the amazing old Howard Stern pin Sean found in one of his dresser drawers. Sean's a huge old Howard fan who even went to one of his rallies back in the day. I charmed him in part by mentioning I had just listened to Artie talk about his book on the air when I spied Sean's copy of "Too Fat to Fish" by his bedside on my first night over. Sean may not realize this, but that pin is going to live on my tote for the next long while.

Anyway, expect more kitten pictures soon and some pictures of beer bongs for old times sake (some things never change, like my friends and their love of non-traditional beer ingestion.)

Internal Strife

Been stuck on a downer train for the past couple of weeks. It started with a pain in the lower right side of my abdomen. After two days I made an appointment with another doctor who shared my primary physicians office as my own doc was out for the day. She gave me a pelvic examination. She sent me to Beth Israel, a hospital I've dictated previous experiences at here and here. She said she had to rule out appendicitis. She called ahead, I didn't have to wait long to get a bed. I changed into a robe and waited to be seen. The doctor's smugness didn't match the cartoon whales on his tie. He took one look at me and told me I didn't have appendicitis. Yeah, I coulda told him that, but the pain in my right side was there, it was real, and it was right where my appendix was. I asked him if the scan would show another cause, be it ovarian or otherwise and he said it probably would. In the meantime I pissed in my second cup of the day and got an ultrasound on my belly. The doctor told me it pretty boring inside of my uterus. That's the word he used, not "routine" or "normal" but boring. He got gel all over my panties. It could have been prevented. They gave me a pitcher of liquid to drink over the next hour. I drank. I waited. Two hours. The IV in my arm started hurting. They kept it in just in case they needed to take more blood. They didn't. Finally my blood tests came back, my second pregnancy test of the day was negative, everything else looked normal. Time for the CAT scan. I was escorted into a room. The technician was on the phone. I sat and I waited. She finally noticed me after about four minutes. She went to find the radiologist. She couldn't find the radiologist. She tried to call the radiologist, the radiologist didn't answer. She paged the radiologist, the radiologist didn't answer. A line started to form with patients waiting for their CAT scans. Finally another radiologist came down. They told me they were going to put something in my veins that may make my mouth feel warm. It did. It also made my pelvis feel like it was on fire. It passed and I passed through the machine. Back into my bed, an elderly hypochondriac was talking about gout. Her husband was humoring her. The smug doctor was friendly with her. He was ignoring me. She started whimpering. I laid there still in pain. The doctor came back. He told me he didn't have appendicitis. I told him I figured. I asked him if anything else showed up. He said I had two small cysts on my ovaries. I asked him if that's why it hurt. He said maybe. He gave me a prescription for Percocet for my troubles and discharged me.

I called my doctor on the telephone. She said that I should go see a gynecologist. I went to see the one at Beth Israel's Union Square medical building. It was on the second floor. There was a piano in the center of the open space between offices. No one was playing it when I went in. I signed in. Everyone else was pregnant. I waited. The gynecologist saw me. She was friendly until she stuck two fingers up my ass without me expecting it. She said the two cysts were small and normal and probably not the problem. With her hand inside me she pressed on two spots on my abdomen and asked me if they hurt. I said no. She said, "I just had your ovaries in my hand and you didn't have a flicker of pain. I was watching your face, nothing changed." I agreed. I asked her what now. She said, "It could be a hernia, irritable bowel syndrome, a bone fragment, a slipped disc in your back, it could be any number of things." That didn't make me feel better. She said a word I didn't understand and don't remember. I asked her what it meant, she said it meant I was essentially a mystery at this point but I should come back for a sonogram next week. That was all she told me. I waited for the woman at the desk to stop talking about cooking. She was busy convincing her co-workers that she could indeed cook. She was talking about meat. How she rinsed it before cooking it and then doused it in rum so it wouldn't taste fresh. I asked for an appointment next week. She said they were full for the next three weeks and gave me a number to call somewhere else. I walked back out to the mezzanine to make the call. A red-headed woman sat down at the piano, made eye-contact with me and started playing. I couldn't hear well enough to make the call so I walked away. The other doctor didn't have any openings for three weeks and one day. I went back to the office and scheduled my sonogram for August.

I called my doctor. She said I should come in. I'd been in pain for a few weeks and nothing had changed. I told her about the gynecologist. She felt my belly. Said something about my intestines. Told me I needed to see a gastrointestinologist. Maybe they needed to do a colonoscopy. Maybe they needed to do plenty of things, but it was beyond her medical reach. I sighed. I told her I just wanted to know, be it good or bad. I started thinking about everything I did, my posture when I sat, the position in which I slept, everything I ate and drank. All the seemingly harmless things that could be making my phantom condition worse. She asked me if I noticed any situations that seemed to make things worse. Walking, having sex, eating, and going to doctors. She said she thought it might be a hernia. Or a muscle strain. Or an injury from having sex. That's when I felt the pain for the first time, during sex. She gave me another prescription for Percocet, as I was nearly out. My mom was in town visiting. She was in the waiting room waiting for me. I had to rephrase what doctor told me. Didn't want to lay it straight out, that maybe I had hurt myself getting railed too hard by my boyfriend.

I am seeing the gastrointestinologist on Wednesday. I was told to keep my appointment for the sonogram and the follow-up appointment with the gynecologist. I keep telling people I hope it's not irritable bowel syndrome (which it's not, my bowels are working like champs) or a hernia because those two things seem embarrassing.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Public Celibacy

Note: I understand how ridiculous it is that I'm actually writing about something in the Post annoying me. Almost everything in the NY Post annoys me, I read it for the crossword puzzle more than anything else. Still, this who celibacy thing really hit a nerve.

I was reading yet another article in the NY Post today about NY women opting for celibacy. First of all, in it's digging for famous representatives of the "new celibacy" it handed us the misinformation that Courtney Love is currently celibate. Love stated on Howard Stern that she didn't have sex for four years while working on the new Hole record, but that she's back on the banging wagon since she finished recording (if you haven't watched the interview and you have access of Howard OnDemand you should, it's captivating as Love generally is when she's somewhat lucid.) So in typical Post fashion it tries to convince us this is a "trend" by smattering in a few famous gals with stories of "regular" New Yorkers. Too bad their regular New Yorkers consist of Julia Allison and a former Miss Teen Alabama.

Honestly, none of this bothered me as much as how tacky I really think going public with your vow of celibacy really is. Religiously motivated virginity is one thing, but a "sex break" is a whole other. It's no one business who you are having sex with so why is it anyone's business who you aren't? There was a time in my life when I wasn't really having sex. I was newly sober and figuring my shit out. I didn't write a book about it, I didn't feel the need to call it a lifestyle change. It was, simply, being responsible and taking care of myself. Sometimes sex is a good thing, sometimes it isn't. It depends on the individual and where she is at. But honestly, if you need to not have sex to be able to record an album, you probably don't have a healthy enough relationship with sex to be having it when that album is done.

Also, in the Post's reference to Gaga's celibacy, it takes her quote out of context. Her stance is pro-relationship and anti-promiscuity. No sex without commitment. That's hardly celibacy. And while I do appreciate the punny headline, "They're Havin' a Celibation" crowing over a ragged photo of Courtney Love, I'm so sick of this shit.

I have no problem with celibacy, your pussy and whatever you want to do with it is your perogative, but this isn't even celibacy. It's just not promiscuity. These women aren't in relationships and I can bet you if they were in committed relationships they would be having sex. If they were saying they were avoiding relationships for the sake of productivity they wouldn't be in a sexy pictorial in the Post.

Furthermore, I think this is bad for women in general. We're once again returning to this notion that we are the gatekeepers to sex. We are the ones who are the decision makers, the naysayers. Aside from Lenny Kravitz, men don't make the news by saying they are off sex. But again, celibacy is far different from just "not putting out." It's great to avoid hyper-sexualizing oneself but come on. There is nothing abnormal about not having promiscuous sex. And really Julia Allison? Is it worth a fucking press release because you decided not to have sex for a month?!?! I mean that's what humans do after a bad breakup, they take either dive in deep or take a breather.

I am having difficulty vocalizing what exactly is bothering me here. I guess it's partially this notion that women can't be productive creative individuals when they are involved with men, sexually or romantically. Instead of casting off the notion of relationships, sexual or not, maybe we should be more focused on casting off the roles we take in these relationships and the relationship we have with not just our sexuality but our partners. If you need to not have sex with people right away in order to find the proper partner, that makes sense, but don't call it celibacy for fuck's sake.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Just so you know


Sorry, been too busy building an empire in Greenpoint to blog. Things are getting nutty but we're so close to being ready to reopen the shop. For those of you not in the know, I've been working my way into a partnership since the summer at Fox and Fawn. As of January, the partnership is a solid "go" as we decided to relocate the store from it's quiet Suffolk Street location in the LES to a much busier block in Greenpoint Brooklyn. We'll be on the same block of Manhattan Ave as Enids, right next to Three Kings Tattoo.

So far I've learned how to install laminate flooring, fallen off a ladder, painted a drop ceiling, hit my fingers with a hammer more than a couple of times, bitten off what's left of my fingernails, gotten reacquainted with driving on the BQE, and had more mini-misadventures than I could possibly recount. Oh and Marissa got food poisoning from Palace Fried Chicken.

My boyfriend Sean is opening a record store in our space and I'm super stoked about it. I think it will add another dimension to our shop and will make it more dude-friendly, although we've been really upping our men's section and it's definitely regaining it's former glory.

All of this is super exciting and incredibly scary at the same time. It's a risk and I know it will pay off but still, I'm finally going to be a full-time small business owner and that's intense. I won't go into the details of the anxieties this holds because I've already learned that it's something that most people can't really relate to, just as I couldn't really relate to my friends who were freelancers stuck hounding former employers for long-overdue paychecks when I had a steady hourly job. But I will say that the anxieties are many but the payoff is well worth it. I mean come on, I'll never have a boss again, just this wonderful thing called a partner. It goes without saying that I could never have done any of this without Marissa, I mean she founded the fucking store five years ago! If any of you get an opportunity like I did to earn your place in a small business through monetary investment or sweat equity or whatever, I strongly suggest you consider it. I never imagined myself owning a business ever throughout the years and years I worked retail because I never could imagine doing it myself, never could imagine coming up with the money or taking a risk and borrowing it. When I got this opportunity I can safely say that it was nothing short of life-changing and we've got so many big ideas for the future of Fox & Fawn and I have no doubt that they are achievable.

A while ago I wrote about participating in my friend Anjali's performance piece at a church for the Vice Blog. In it I mentioned that I learned a valuable lesson many years ago that was essential to say YES to life. If someone offers you an opportunity it's usually because they see some sort of potential in you. Instead of being mired by self-doubt sometimes it's good to trust a friend and just go for it. To say YES where in the past you may have said NO because you didn't think you were good enough, capable enough, you weren't confident enough, bold enough, brave enough.

I took it one step further when Marissa was talking about not wanting to run Fox & Fawn by herself any longer. I decided to ask. I asked her instead of waiting to be asked because sometimes you realize that the asking may never come and you have to make a grab at a possibility. I mean what's the worse that could happen, someone could say NO and you're life would be where it was before. Sure there's always that worry of putting someone in an awkward spot and making them feel obligated to say YES to you even if they don't really want to but if you are a person with an ounce of perceptiveness you know when you are really not wanted and frankly when it comes to the very important stuff (artistic endeavors, businesses and the such) most of my friends are wise-enough to go with their instincts instead of other people's egos.

And thank god I asked because in that instant something that never had really occurred to either of us as an option (she hadn't asked me because she assumed I wasn't interested and I had never expressed interest because I assumed she would have asked if she though I'd be a good match) became a reality and my life is far better because of it thanks in part of my putting it out there and Marissa for believing in me.

Whew! And that's life according to Beverly. Your sermon for the day. Positivity is underrated.